The Commons: How do you solve a problem like Mike Duffy?

You’d be surprised what adjusting riding boundaries can accomplish

The NDP leader had asked a straightforward question and the Prime Minister had not quite responded with a straightforward answer and so now Thomas Mulcair, the NDP leader forced to gesture demonstratively this day with only his left arm on account of a fall on his right arm this morning, leaned forward and stared down the Prime Minister.

“Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve a straight answer,” he ventured. “Did the Prime Minister know his party was behind these fraudulent calls, yes or no?

The New Democrats applauded their man’s strict advisement of the options.

“The independence of the Canadian Electoral Boundaries Commission is fundamental to our democracy,” Mr. Mulcair continued. “Conservatives paid for fraudulent robocalls using a fake company name to misinform voters and manipulate an important part of our democratic system. Worse yet, Conservative Party officials lied to Canadians to try to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. Who will the Prime Minister hold accountable for this fraud?”

Alas, Mr. Harper was unimpressed with Mr. Mulcair’s presentation.

“Mr. Speaker, clearly I reject the accusations in that question,” the Prime Minister clarified. “I think the party has explained this particular matter. As I think the Speaker knows very well, there are electoral commissions in effect to redraw boundaries. Those commissions accept and expect input from parliamentarians, from political parties and from the general public. In Saskatchewan there has been overwhelming opposition to the particular proposals, but we are simply operating within the process as it exists.”

Unbowed by Mr. Mulcair’s experience, Bob Rae tried his own simple question. “Mr. Speaker, in light of the unprecedented effort by the Conservative Party, I presume the government, to gerrymander the riding boundaries in Saskatchewan, I wonder if the Prime Minister would give us a categorical assurance, today, that there will be no special partisan legislation, with respect to this matter but, rather, the government will ensure and guarantee that it will bring in a law that would be entirely compatible with the final conclusions of the boundary commission in Saskatchewan and, indeed, right across the country.”

In this case, Mr. Harper was willing to offer such an assurance. Eventually.

“Mr. Speaker, let me be, once again, clear on the process,” Mr. Harper graciously offered. “Under the law, independent boundary commissions are established. Part of the process, is to get widespread input, not just from parliamentarians and political parties, but from the general public. In the case of Saskatchewan, I am told that some 75% of the submissions made to that commission have been opposed to the current proposals. However, it is the commission that makes the decisions.”

So it is for the commission to decide, but it is apparently for the Conservative party to use that figure of 75% as justification for waging a public political campaign against the commission.

“Some years ago,” the Prime Minister continued, “the Liberals tried to bring in partisan legislation to overturn boundary commission recommendations. We would never do that.”

So the Conservatives will most certainly not do anything to overrule the independent commission, but they will presumably continue to wage a campaign against its conclusions.

“The process allows and encourages the public to make submissions. At the end of the day the commission will make the decision,” Gerry Ritz later explained to the House. “Seventy-five per cent of the submissions they received during the initial process were in favour of boundaries remaining the way they were. We stand with Saskatchewan residents in asking that the commission re-evaluate the work it did and re-establish the boundaries as they have been.”

And surely the Conservative party has only the public interest in mind in maintaining the boundaries that helped the party win 93% of the province’s seats in 2011 with 56% of the popular vote. (No doubt they’ve not even noticed that the new boundaries are slightly more favourable to the New Democrats.)

In the midst of this debate, the New Democrats raised another matter of geography. Specifically, the question of Senator Mike Duffy’s primary place of residence.

“Let us talk about Senator Come-From-Away, Mike Duffy, who hits up the taxpayer for $41,000 claiming to live in P.E.I. Then he is an Ontario voter. Then he tries to scam a health card and is turned down. He does not even qualify for the income tax reduction on residency. When was the last time he even mentioned in the Senate the great people of Prince Edward Island?” Charlie Angus wondered aloud, his brow furrowed in mock confusion. “It has to be at least seven months, which is why the people of Cavendish call him ‘Mike Who?’ ”

Obviously the people of Cavendish, those ill-mannered barbarians, should be more respectful and refer to him as Senator Who?

“Instead of trying to defend their buddy,” Mr. Angus finally asked, “will the Conservatives try defending the taxpayer and get $41,000 back from this guy?

The New Democrats stood to applaud this request.

Government House leader Peter Van Loan had the duty of taking this one. “Mr. Speaker, as has been said many times in this chamber, all parliamentarians are expected to maintain a residence both in their home region and here in the national capital region,” he offered.

It will no doubt surprise Mr. Van Loan to learn that the Constitution requires senators to be a resident of the province they claim to represent.

“The Senate is, as we know,” Mr. Van Loan continued, “doing a review of their current rules and ensuring they are properly applied to all senators.”

If Senator Duffy is found to be insufficiently associated with Prince Edward Island, the Conservatives will be put in a difficult spot. Do they ask him to resign? Do they order him to move? Before doing anything rash, they should consider what might be accomplished with a few robocalls. Appeal to the public to pressure the Ontario and PEI  boundary commissions to make Kanata part of Prince Edward Island. Squeeze the Ottawa suburb (where Senator Duffy reportedly often resides) into one of PEI’s ridings or make it a new riding altogether. Either way, problem solved: the little island gets to keep its senator. And if redrawing the boundaries improves the Conservative party’s seemingly dismal chances in PEI for 2015, all the better.




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The Commons: How do you solve a problem like Mike Duffy?

  1. The Honourabe Member for Kanata-Green Gables.

    • He can see P.E.I. from his porch.

      • Only on a clear day.

      • PEI can see him from space.

    • honour? honour? What is this thing you call honour?

  2. The part that bothers me with the rightwing….is that they are so keen to tell others how to live…yet look what they do themselves!

    Duffy’s preached a lot. And lectured. And ranted. And made a bundle doing it.

    Meantime…he’s cheated the govt, PEI, and taxpayers everywhere.

    And of couse we all know…..he’s not the only one.

    • At the end of the day, we a resident of Prince Edward Island would like one Mike Duffy to be removed.
      Duffy has become the poster boy for Conservatives broken planks of accountability and Senate reform.

  3. Duffy is more like Pillsbury Doughboy than a cloud, he would not be hard to catch and pin down.

  4. That`s great !
    Wherry should do little bits on the other 3 Senators from PEI.
    Can anybody name one of them ?
    I`ll give you a hint —they are all Liberal—all appointed by Liberal PM`s—one of them even worked for Chretien for years—probably owns a place in Ottawa.
    I`m looking forward to the Wherry investigative team tracking down all the dirty details.

    By the way, would someone tell Sheldon ( kcm ) that Wherry was just being sarcastic with that thingy about PEI swallowing up Kanata.

    • There’s been no hint they’re involved in any sort of wrong-doing, so why investigate them?

      • They have been taking up space in the Senate Chamber for a total of 38 years.

        Is there a hint that they have been involved in any type of ” doing ” ?

        Let`s total up the cost of keeping them in the Liberal red and see if they are any more useful than Duffy.

        Maybe the reason why there is no hint of wrong-doing is because nobody in the media would dare investigate Liberal Senators. Now, why would they just go after the Conservative Senator ?

        • Dude, you need some kind of face diaper or something. The amount of weeping and wailing that you do, day after day after day, must leave you with a terrible facial rash. You are the most hyper-sensitive shill in the gallery.

          Maybe tone it down with the waterworks and try to work on your logical thinking, you are bound to improve it because you’re starting at zero.

          • Calm down there gar.
            Just answer the question: What useful purpose has the 3 Liberal Senators from PEI served for a total of 38 years ?
            If the support we have provided them, whether it be transportation costs, housing costs, or just taking up space has been better spent than those on Duffy, then tell us how.
            Otherwise, I will assume you are just another liberal shill like the blog host who resorts to nasty remarks when cornered with the truth.

          • andrew, the article is about a senator whose expense claims are suspect, and all of the senators have been asked to prove their residency to show their claims are legitimate. He, Brazeau and Harb are the names that a reporter found to have illegitimate claims, and so ALL senators have been asked to show theirs. Duffy is a well-known senator due to his work as a journalist right up to the day before his appointment, and so being a familiar figure, his name attracts more attention. That, plus the fact that he is certainly acting guilty, running away from reporters. No matter what party any senator or MP is from, I don’t want them ripping off taxpayers who are already very generous with their pay and expenses. So why do you want to be ripped off, why are you an apologist for such alleged behaviour?

          • All I`m asking is that Duffy receive the same amount of scrutiny as all the other Senators.
            Why not go after the Native Senator or the Liberal Senator ?

            Personally I think Duffy is useless—but I also think the other 3 Senators are useless—they have just been useless longer.
            It does not matter to me whether public funds is spent on housing or office staff, or transportation—-it`s wasteful spending on useless Senators.

            Why not go after the whole bunch of them instead of picking the easy target ? What good has come out of the past few years of constant complaining about Duffy ? When Wherry does a story about wasteful spending across the lines in the Senate, then I will know he wants reform—until then I see a liberal shill.

          • My guess would be duffy is a lightning rod for the media because of his own partisan reporting and the way he craps on the journos who try to get answers out of him. I think Harb and Brazeau, and any other senator abusing their already-generous, taxpayer-funded lives, should be held up to the public and fined, charged, whatever the law allows. But Canadians are very bad at enforcing accountability, so I don’t expect much to happen or change. Look back at your first comments: do you see how partisan they are — you didn’t ask that Duffy get the same treatment, you instead implied that Liberal senators, and other senators from PEI, are somehow more corrupt and deserving of scrutiny than Duffy. However, Duffy’s expenses were caught out when Brazeau was found to be falsely collecting housing allowance and all senators were asked to provide proof of residency. So far, the three under scrutiny are Duffy, Brazeau and Harb, all of whom have been written about by media. In SK yesterday, local CBC reporters asked all 6 SK senators if they own homes and live in this province and so far, all have responded yes excepting — guess who? Another conservative appointed former journalist, Pamela Wallin, who has not lived in SK for about 50 years.

          • “All senators were asked…”

            That’s just dog whistle stuff to Andy. All he can hear is…conservative senators were asked…

          • I am the one person on this thread who did not take the opportunity to slam Duffy and i am partisan.

            Listen, I am the only one calling for an analysis of spending for all Senators. You guys seem happy with nailing one. I want to nail them all.

            Jeez, you liberals get the government you deserve.

          • I have no idea what “you liberals get the government you deserve” could possibly mean. Unfortunately for us all, we are stuck with a government got through cheating and blind partisan voting.

          • “Just answer the question: What useful purpose has the 3 Liberal Senators from PEI served for a total of 38 years ?”
            About the same useful purpose as the 58 Conservative senators Harper has appointed since 2006.

          • I’m not interested in answering your irrelevant question because it is such an obvious attempt to change the subject that you really ought to be embarrassed by it.

            The entire Senate is a complete waste of time, money and attention. But that doesn’t excuse – even a little bit – the blatant fraud you personally are eager to excuse. And it doesn’t distract from it either, despite your best efforts.

            You are like a very, very bad lawyer who tries to get his client off a murder rap by claiming that “we’re all going to die anyway, what’s the big deal?”

            If you are doing this stuff for free, you really are an incomparable partisan nitwit. If you are doing it for pay, then you are providing really, really poor value for the money… no matter how little you are paid.

          • Notice he isn’t defending Duffy now. Just spreading the manure around a bit more equitably.

          • If we were in court, this would be ‘out of order’. It’s gotta to be the worst rationalization you’ve come up with to date, and that is saying something.

          • This comment is worthy of the new, improved Mike Duffy. Intellectually resplendent and thought provoking. Your mother must be very proud.

          • My mother claims that she is proud of me… but she always liked my brother better,

            Let’s make a deal, Peter, you post something as resplendent as you’d like to see emulated and I’ll see if I can’t match you. In the interim, I’m just going to go ahead and call a partisan moron “a partisan moron” until I get tired of doing so… If it’s all the same to you.

        • Shorter Andy: Unfair…boo hoo…whine..whine…snivel…

          Duffy caught with his pants around his ankles.

          Why aren’t liberal senators being caught with their pants down too?

          Conclusion…media bias.

          Remedy …let’s assume all liberal pei senators are as bad as Duffy w/o a shred of evidence, cuz the media isn’t up to it.

          Methinks Andy IS in fact a partisan shill.

          • ” parisan shill “—-Hey Sheldon, I`ve been to Paris, but I would never be a shill for the place.
            Actually. I would like to put in a good word for Paris, Ontario—a lovely little town.

          • Do you enjoy sex and travel, Andrew?

          • No thanks.

          • The fact that you could go to Paris and find fault with it…i can see that.

            Just a tip…pointing out really obvious typos is sorta anal really.

          • No, when it`s you —it`s fun.

          • Well i could point out you’ve been thoroughly admonished for your parisian ways on this thread. But since you’ve appointed yourself blog cop, i’ll leave such petty stuff like that and spotting typos to you shall i.

        • That is lame, even for you.

    • More or less and for better or worse; the other three have been spotted attempting to live here. We may not care for their political views or alliances but at least they have a claim of being a resident.

      • OK, then total up the cost of shipping them back and forth to Ottawa and apply that against all the ” good work ” they do and see if you are getting as good a deal with them as with Duffy.

        • Ah! So he’s stealing our money to save us money! Thanks for clearing that up.

        • There are some g-d rules in place and you are defending a guy breaking them because you like his party. Really, andrew.

        • But Duffy is already claiming massive amounts in travel expenses too. He just doesn’t use them to go to PEI.

        • Utter nonsense.

        • Remind me what good Duffy is doing again, and remember his role is to represent PEI in the Senate, not shill for Harper.

  5. Is there any independence left in any government department or organization that has not been infiltrated and threatened by the power of our PM? Is there anything we can count on to be done in the best interests of the citizens of Canada? The whistleblowers have been fired or otherwise punished. The media is dumbed down and in the PM’s pocket. We now get what we deserve, a Syrian-like goverment willing to condem any action to stay in power. Canada is unrecognizable from ten years ago. We are in a rapid slide to the bottom.

    • Duffy will save us, if we all land on him ; just not all at the same time.

  6. Damn that Angus guy is good – wish he were a liberal.

    • Actually, he`s not very good—just loud.

      He can`t even get his facts right. There is no income tax reduction for residency in PEI. There is double taxation on property tax for non-residents of PEI.

      Jeez, it`s a full time job correcting and explaining to you.

      • So Duffy’s paying twice as much property tax as he needs to? Don’t forget, he claims his PEI cottage as his principal residence in order to claim his Ottawa living expenses. Clearly he’s figured that it’s more lucrative to do it this way – never mind it’s scamming the system.

      • And the fact that apparently the Duffster isn’t on the residents tax regisitry [ so i've heard. I actually don't care enough to check that closely. Duffy is a disgrace to the senate - that much is clear] is germane to the issue. Getting you to focus on the issue at hand rather than redirecting all the time is a full time job for someone…that is if we could find someone who can be bothered to keep up.

      • It used to be a credit Andrew but under the revised system it added to non-residents as opposed to being subtracted for residents.
        These were issue broached when Duffy was named a Senator and they were issues that he claimed he would address. It may appear that he has not done so.

        Just don’t send him back to us. Bill him and send him on his way. If he wants to take the three Liberal appointees with him, so much the better.

  7. Hey Mr Wherry – why don’t you do an article on Patrick Brazeau?

  8. The conservatives would have been all over Duffy and the robocalls with attack adds had some other party perpetrated them.

  9. Just reminfd, is this the same Mike Duffy who dragged everyone else through the wringer, is not journalism wonderful, till you arrive in the senate

  10. corruption?? yes how can a government person be arrested for a crime, been kick out of Senate, and still receive 6 figures ?? and not be afraid to be laid off ???

  11. Why Canada give hundreds of millions of dollars to other countries ??? here in Canada my home i work for minimum wage wile the government and the rich is getting richer ??? it is inexcusable in a country as rich as my Canada to have homeless persons living under -24c and you the government spend $90000 just on tips can anybody explain ???

  12. What does Duffy put on his income tax return as his Province? If he is still shaving points to make money, he would have been putting “Ontario” for the last few years.

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